Unleash the Super Skier Within

January 26, 2014

Unleash the super-skier within, through FeldenkraisUnleash the super-skier within, drop 10 strokes off your golf game, or run a faster marathon. “Great thought,” you say, “But how do I achieve and maintain a higher level of performance?”  What’s needed is a new paradigm for learning physical movement.  You need to start thinking brain rather than muscles and awareness rather than mindless repetition. 

Jack Heggie, Feldenkrais Practitioner and author of the book Skiing with the Whole Body coined the term Moving Mind to describe the part of the brain that organizes our muscles and directs our movements.  The brain and its nervous system access information through pressure, distances, and angles.  Lie down and allow the nervous system to feel the pressure patterns beneath your body.  If you take a few minutes a day and do nothing more than lay on the floor your nervous system will begin to reorganize itself and you will be the beneficiary. 

Awareness is the most important component in all learning according to Moshe Feldenkrais PhD., physicist, black belt judoka and creator of the Feldenkrais Method®. When you exercise mindlessly, repeating the same movements without paying attention, you are simply reinforcing your present habit patterns.  In order to effectively learn a better, more efficient pattern of movement, slow down the action and pay attention to all of the elements involved.  This gives the nervous system time to register the new information and to send it to the brain for reorganization.  Once the reorganization is complete the action becomes easy and spontaneous and you then get to enjoy the effortless movement that you have created. 

Trunk rotation is important to skiers, golfers, runners and, in fact, everyone.  So get down on the floor and try this lesson for reprogramming your Moving Mind. 

1.     The first step is to take a snapshot of how your body feels against the floor.  You may notice that body rebels against the hardness of the ground or that you enjoy the support of the surface you are on.  Develop an observer’s mind and simply notice without trying to change or fix anything.

2.     Stand up and place your feet about a foot length apart.  Make sure that your knees are right over your ankles.  Hold your right arm straight out in front of you and look at your hand.  Keep the relationship between the arm and the trunk as you turn to the right.  Do not strain in your turn—simply go where it is comfortable and stop there. 

3.     Note a point on the wall in line with your hand.  This is your reference point.  Come back to center and do the movement 2 or 3 more times always making it easier than the time before.  Breathe as you turn, soften your knees, imagine that you are floating in water and allow the movement to reflect this.  Keep moving mindfully without strain or effort.  The more you strain the less you will notice what you are doing.  Come back to the center, lower your arm and pause.

4.     Bring your arm up the same way and once again, turn to the right to your reference point.  Stay here and simply turn your head a little to the left and back a few times.  Keep the turning easy and without effort (remember the water image).  Return the whole body to center.

5.     Take a break for a few moments and lie down on the floor.  If you notice that you have been concentrating and focusing too strongly, you will feel the effects of the effort and strain when you rest.  If you were able to stay playful and easy with the movements you may notice this is reflected in your contact with the floor.  When you are relaxed, stand up and begin again.

6.     Bring your arm up the same way as before and leave it there.  Turn only your head to the right so that you are now looking at your right shoulder.  As you turn your head back to center, take your arm and your trunk to the right so that your head and shoulder have separated.  The action is: arm and body to center/head to right—arm and body to right head to center.  Repeat this movement 3 or 4 times.  It is tricky because you have to divide your attention between your head and your arm and shoulder so do it slowly and if you get confused start again.

7.     Repeat the original movement from step 2 and notice your far you spontaneously turn now and the ease and effortless quality of the movement.

8.     Lie down on your back again and notice the changes that have occurred in your contact with the floor.  Because we have only worked on one side the differences will be quite apparent.

9.     Repeat the lesson on the other side.

Congratulations, you have just completed an Awareness Through Movement Lesson®.  It is now time to enjoy the new sensations of ease and effortless movement that you have created in your body to use as you ski down the slopes at your favorite ski hill.


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Feldenkrais®, Feldenkrais Method®, Awareness Through Movement®, and Functional Integration® are registered service marks of the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America. Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner ™ and Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher ™ are certification marks of the Feldenkrais Guild®.